• Josh Talevski

2021 MLB Hall of Fame Election Results

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Well, I came close, and by close, I wasn’t really close at all. Maybe fairly accurate, though. The 2021 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame class has been announced, and it will feature nobody. For the first time since 2013, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America could not cast the 75% of votes needed to induct any players on this year’s ballot into the Hall of Fame.

The 2021 Hall of Fame Weekend, which will take place from July 23-26, will still feature new inductees, albeit members of the 2020 Hall of Fame class, whose ceremony was canceled last summer due to COVID-19. Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter, Colorado Rockies great Larry Walker, longtime Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller, former Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, will take center stage during the July 25 ceremony in Cooperstown, New York.

As predicted, Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were the top three vote-getters in this year’s class. Schilling is the biggest headline, as he received 71.1% of votes and will have to wait until 2022, which will be his last year on the ballot, to see if he gets in. Although Schilling never took steroids or any PEDs, he has had a problematic history with the media, which has hurt his case in regards to his “character.” He has already publicly stated that he is “requesting to be removed from the [2022] ballot.” Clemens and Bonds will face the same challenge as Schilling since next year will also be their tenth and final year on the ballot. It appears unlikely that Bonds, who received 61.8% of the ballot, and Clemens (61.6%) will be able to generate enough votes to earn induction next year.

Like many speculated, there were a few ballot veterans who received a considerable boost due to a weak 2021 ballot. Scott Rolen jumped from 35.3% in 2020 to 52.9% this year. Billy Wagner (31.7% to 46.4%), Todd Helton (29.2% to 44.9%), Andruw Jones (19.4% to 33.9%), and surprisingly, Gary Sheffield (30.5% to 40.6%) all made significant strides in their individual cases. Omar Vizquel was the only player to see a drop in votes because of domestic abuse allegations.

Pitchers Mark Buehrle (11%) and Tim Hudson (5.2%), along with outfielder Torii Hunter (9.5%) were the only Hall of Fame first-timers who were able to earn the five percent necessary to make it onto the 2022 ballot.

Next year’s class will feature newcomers, such as Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Mark Teixeira and Jimmy Rollins. It will be interesting to see how voters treat Rodriguez, who was noted for taking steroids during his playing career, and Ortiz, who also tested positive for PEDs in 2003.

Next year’s ballot will be filled with numerous storylines. Will Curt Schilling’s personal life overshadow his playing career? Will he be able to get in alongside Bonds and Clemens in their final years of eligibility? What will voters think of A-Rod and Ortiz? Can Rolen, Wagner and Helton continue to trend their cases upwards?

Though it is always unfortunate to have zero players elected to the Hall of Fame, there will still be plenty to celebrate in Cooperstown this July as the 2020 Hall of Fame class will become official members of baseball royalty.